More than just a scholarship: my Australia Awards experience

In life, some things do happen that make you realise your wildest dreams can be achieved when you least expected it.

Yeah, I am having this experience. I wished I had a scholarship to study in Australia and gain the exposure I needed for professional career development. I was awarded an Australia Awards Scholarship to study a Master of Professional Accounting and Finance at Deakin University.

Shallow was my expectation of what an Australian university could offer for an experience in this regard. A fellow international student friend twice said; ‘here at Deakin, you live at a 5-star hotel environment every day’. In terms of the support provided to an international student by the university, it surely is a fitting description.

Australia being the closest neighbour and long-time friend to Papua New Guinea with rich ties, I always wanted to study here. But I never thought I would receive its prestigious scholarship enriched with multicultural exposure, as well as studying for a world-class degree. Yeah, it came in a time I least expected it and I appreciate the experience.

Given a scholarship for two years in late 2017, I researched the universities I wanted to study. I had two things on mind; one was to study a degree that rightly fits my career plan and how well it could position me towards development of my beloved country. And second – to live in a city that hosts the best NRL team.

Coincidently, I found Deakin University in the hometown of the mighty Melbourne Storm. Not only this, but Deakin offered a dual master program that let me utilise my one-off fully funded scholarship to attain the Master of Professional Accounting and Finance. I was especially interested in International Finance, having to face the rapid globalisation and the effect it has on Papua New Guinea.

The degree is affiliated to CPA Australia, one of the world’s largest accounting bodies, which CPA PNG is aligned with. Units in this course are tailored to the recommendation of CPA Australia and CA Australia New Zealand, especially in the Professional Master component.

Jonah with his fellow Papua New Guinean 2018 Australia Awards Scholarship Awardees in Melbourne.

Deakin University is situated at an ideal location in Victoria. Transport is super-efficient. I live within five-minute walking distance to the university and at reasonable accommodation cost. I walk to campus any time of the day, as it is open 24 hours with internet and super reliable learning facilities and materials.

It does not feel like learning at an academic institution; it surely feels like on-the-job training. Lecturers and class presenters are on par with industry knowledge, backed by up-to-date learning resources that one would literally feel the confidence attained to face the ever-changing world.

The Australia Awards Scholarship brings students from numerous countries around the world and creates bonding events apart from the university’s culturally conducive environment. Special to this is the Intensive Academic Preparatory program. This five-week program enriched my experience with other international students and life in Australia, apart from learning how to learn well at the university. We had class tours and one of them was visiting the Eureka Tower skyscraper in Melbourne city. What I appreciated the most was the hospitality and kindness received from the Victorian people.

Yeah, the Australia Awards are not only an academic scholarship – it gives an experience. The university is not only teaching for knowledge acquisition, but also the skills to learn in a dynamic world. I truly recommend any PNG student who wants to study in Australia to consider Deakin University.

For further information about studying at Deakin and to view the many degrees on offer, visit our international student page.

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